MILLEDGEVILLE — Rising Baldwin High School freshmen are learning what it takes to be a member of the Marching Pride while getting an early start in refining this year’s halftime routine during rookie band camp this week.
Under the direction of the high school’s new band director, Ryan Murrell, and new assistant band director, David Cheek, a total of around 200 marching band members will get ready for a one-of-a-kind performance.
“I’m looking for a very positive group. Change is hard for everybody, but we will still maintain the spirit, pride and excellence the band has had for the past 13 years,” Murrell said, “and we will continue to strive for the best.”
This year’s nearly 10-minute football show theme is “Dangerous 126.96.36.199.” as a tribute to the late pop star Michael Jackson. Featured songs include “Beat It,” “Bad,” “Smooth Criminal,” “I’ll Be There,” “Heal the World,” “Leave Me Alone,” “Black or White,” “They Don’t Really Care About Us” and “We Are the World.”
“I researched what other marching bands were doing and nine times out of 10, they have done ‘Thriller.’ I wanted to make sure we make our show different and make sure our song selections fit into the design package of our show,” Murrell said. “We always want the audience guessing what we’re about to do next. We have a lot of visual aspects and the students seem excited about putting their performance on the field to show everybody.”
Parents of the band students will have the opportunity to see a sneak peek of the routine Tuesday, July 30 at 8 p.m. before kicking off the football season with a performance at a home game against Jefferson County Friday, Aug. 30. The first away game performance is slated Friday, Sept. 13 versus Washington County.
To help raise funds for the band program, the high school will host the Oconee Classic Marching Contest Sept. 28 with several bands from across the state competing for the title of best high school band.
“We’re working on our band cards and we hope to have them in the hands of the students by the end of next week. This year we have 30 businesses. The cost of each card is $10 and the money helps pay for trips, band fees, equipment and anything band related,” said Carol Babb, Band Booster Club president. “This is going to be an exciting year full of change. Everybody is working hard and we’re just excited.”
The full marching band will rehearse as one unit during band camp next week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Major sponsors for this year’s band camp include Kmart, Chick-fil-A, Captain D’s, Little Caesars and Wendy’s.
“Even though it’s going to be hot or it might be raining, we will be practicing everyday rain or shine,” Murrell said. “We’re here for the school and the community. Everywhere we go we will put on our best show to represent who we are.”
To donate funds to the band program or purchase a band card, contact a Baldwin High School student or Murrell at 478-453-6429 ext. 308, email email@example.com, or visit www.baldwinband.com.
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